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tv   America This Morning  ABC  December 31, 2010 4:30am-5:00am EST

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making news on this friday, new year's eve, december 31st. >> a storm in end to the year across a huge swath of the west. snow, ice, and a big problem at the world's first national park. sticker price at the pump. prices only going higher. and which streak ended when the women from uconn and stanford took the court last night? and good morning, everyone. on this new year's eve. i'm mike marusarz, sitting in for vinita nair. >> and i'm rob nelson. the final day of 2010 is going to be a challenge for many across the west, now facing
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snow, rain and high winds from a fierce winter storm. >> now, the dangerous weather is on the march eastward, making travel difficult. emily schmidt has the details. >> reporter: on the eve of a new year, the weather is beginning to feel a little old. >> we know that the weather is going to be bad. but we didn't think it was going to be like that bad. >> reporter: snow fell in arizona's grand canyon. and in seattle, the roads were so icy, small hills turned into insurmountable obstacles. >> i was like, whoa. >> reporter: one solution, jamming rocks under the wheels and leaving the car behind. >> i started sliding down the hill. >> reporter: the storm system causing all these problems is huge. more than 1,500 miles from top to bottom, covering roads in 15 states. >> i'm glad i bought snow tires this week. >> it's been terrible. long hours. a lot of calls. everybody running nonstop. >> reporter: towers in colorado say they've been swamped.
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denver drivers tried to navigate through three feet of snow. and even in fargo, north dakota, an area accustomed to winter weather, had a 100-car pileup along 94. californians are dealing with rain damage from last week. >> my insurance company has already denied any help whatsoever. i got a letter today. >> reporter: and more damage this week. mudslides caused a boulder to block the main entrance to yosemite national park yesterday. people putting together floats for the tournament of roses parade says the forecast looks good. >> everything is going fantastic. and we are going to be ready to go. >> reporter: and in new york's times square, hit by a blizzard early in the week, things are looking up for when the ball drops. the predicted 35 degrees at midnight. emily schmidt, abc news. most of the air passengers stranded by sunday's blizzard have now gotten, finally, to their destinations. the major airlines say operations are back to normal, though they still are adding some extra planes to get people to their destinations.
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more than 10,000 flights have been canceled since sunday. now, for the rest of your new year's eve weather from around the nation. blizzard conditions from the rockies to minnesota. rain around the great lakes and southward, with severe storms around st. louis, memphis and new orleans. chilly in the southwest. rain and mountain snow in northern california. >> meanwhile, just 48 in phoenix. 26 in albuquerque. and 12 in colorado springs. single digits from billings to fargo. 45 in kansas city. 55 in chicago. new york warms up to 45. atlanta, 59. miami, 78. summertime flooding in northeast australia is one thing. but this year is out of hand. an area larger than france and germany combined is under water. more than 200,000 people have been affected. many of them evacuated after days of heavy downpours. the rain has let up a little. but rivers are still rising and it could be another week before the waters recede. in a secret operation, the u.s. has helped ukraine move
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nephenough uranium to make two atomic bombs. and the u.s. will give ukraine new uranium for research. that was part of a deal back in april. u.s. troops in afghanistan have a special visitor for new year's eve. homeland secretary, janet napolitano, is in kabul. she will be meeting with officials before moving to the middle east and belgium. the focus of napolitano's trip is aviation security. christine o'donnell has declared a justice department investigation of her, thug politics. she was the tea party-backed republican candidate for senate from the state of delaware. >> there are accusations that she used campaign funds for personal expenses, which is illegal. john hendren joins us with more. good morning, john. >> reporter: good morning, rob and mike. christine o'donnell says she hasn't even been formally told of the criminal probe, one she says is being driven by rivals in the obama administration.
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the candidate who once famously said she's not a witch, is now saying she's not a crook. >> there's been no impermissible use of campaign funds whatsoever. you have to look at this whole thug politics tactic for what it is. >> reporter: the delaware u.s. attorney's office is investigating allegations by two of christine o'donnell's former staffers who say she used campaign money to pay personal expenses, including her rent, during three failed senate campaigns, starting in 2006. >> one was someone who was fired after a week and a half. so, you have to look at the credibility of their sources. >> reporter: o'donnell, who reported earning just $5,800 at the end of june. but argued that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters. she says the obama administration is trying to stop her and the tea party movement. >> the movement has to continue, to set the -- keep the politicians accountable. and that's what i want to
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continue to do. and that's what they're trying to stop with all these phony investigations. >> reporter: after three, failed runs, it's not clear there's a movement to stop. >> there's no doubt that christine o'donnell wants to be a player in the political scene, for the foreseeable future. the real question is whether she will be able to do it. >> reporter: o'donnell says she'll continue her movement with a book and a political action committee. o'donnell even accused the vice president of complicity, saying he was the king of the delaware political establishment. and adding, in a statement, so, it's no surprise that misuse and abuse of the fbi would not be off the table. rob and mike? when we come back, good news about the nation's employment situation. just as we're all about ready to start paying more at the pump. and they're getting ready for the big party to welcome in the new year. tonight in times square. but it's not going to be a celebration for everyone. details next, when we come right back. @
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overseas, investors are getting a jump-start on the holiday. markets were closed in japan today. while stocks rose slightly in hong kong in a shortened session there. in london, the ftse opened slightly higher. wall street is open for business today. the dow, though, slipped 15 points yesterday. the nasdaq was down four points. the unemployment rate has remained high all year. but there's encouraging news heading into the new year. the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped below 400,000 last week. that's the lowest level in more
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than two years. gas prices are averaging above $3 a gallon. that's near a record for this time of year. you think that's bad, brace yourself for some serious sticker shock. a former industry executive says we could be paying more than $5 a gallon within two years. abc's linsey davis has more. >> reporter: they're already high. but soon, we could be wishing for today's prices. the former president of shell oil is making a bold prediction. >> by november 2012, if we stay on the path that we're on, just in time for the presidential election, american voters will be paying $5 a gallon for gasoline. >> reporter: it's not a weapon. but with the squeeze that comes after pulling the trigger these days, it increasingly feels like one. the national average for a regular gallon of gas is $3.05, up 19 cents from just a month ago. >> there's more demand because the economy is recovering. there's much more demand in asia because the economy is growing rapidly.
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>> reporter: in china alone, they've sold about 18 million cars this year. and here in the u.s., so far, we've logged 16 billion miles more than last year. the getz family is on the return leg of their 770-mile round trip from los angeles to sacramento, california. that should roughly cost $103 today. but if the $5 prediction comes true, that's $167. >> when we looked at prices coming down here, compared to driving, flying was a lot more expensive. but when the price of gas goes up to $5, it won't be. >> reporter: a number of analysts are predicting $4 gas by spring. that's approaching the most americans have ever paid for a gallon of regular gas. linsey davis, abc news, new york. there's fresh evidence out this morning of how popular the e books are becoming. barnes & nobel says it's selling
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more digital books than physical books on its website. we'll begin to find out tomorrow if oprah winfrey can bring her magic from that one-hour tv show to a 24-hour cable network. the oprah winfrey network goes live at noon new year's day. oprah says she's devoted about 10% of her time to o.w.n. right now, as she focuses on the final season of her syndicated talk show. >> oprah may do it again. don't doubt the queen. when we come back this morning, words that some say should be banned in the coming years. and the overall win streak versus the home court win streak. something had to give between uconn and stanford. something had to give between uconn and stanford. stick around. wwwwwwwww wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
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nothing starts your day like honey roasted, honey bunches of oats. the perfect balance of crunchy flakes and clusters, with a kiss of golden honey. delicious. and the same calories per serving as special k original. so, try honey roasted, honey bunches of oats! heck try 'em all. now, for a look at the morning road conditions. treacherous from the rockies to the upper midwest, with heavy,
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blowing snow on parts of i-25, 70, 80 and 94. wet from the great lakes to the gulf coast, on i-10, 20 and 40. still slippery in arizona and new mexico. and slick on i-5, in northern california. >> and if you're flying today, you can expect some airport delays in denver, minneapolis, detroit, chicago, kansas city, memphis, houston and new orleans. and final preparations are now underway around the world to welcome in 2011. you are looking at new york's times square, where thousands of revelers will gather to watch the ball drop later on tonight. >> and there will be a heavy police presence there, as well, as you can imagine. aaron katersky reports on this big, annual tradition. >> three, two, one. happy new year. >> reporter: since 1907, its has been emblematic of new year's eve. the ball, dropped from extension, in times square. the first few new year's eve ball was iron and wood. today, it's waterford crystal.
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and it's bigger and brighter. >> it has 2,680 waterford crystal triangles. and they create over 60 million colors and billions of patterns, like a kaleidoscope in the sky. >> reporter: revelers have welcomed the new year in times square since 1904, when it marked the opening of the times square headquarters. today, it's a made-for-tv event. new kids on the block are among the performers. hen tens of thousands of balloons will filter through the crowd. times square was targeted earlier this year in a failed car bomb attempt. while there's no specific threats around the new year's eve celebration, security will be tight. >> we'll have several thousand police officers deployed. we have every indication that it will be a safe and happy event. >> reporter: once the clock strikes midnight, the crowd disperses, cleanup begins and they start planning for the next new year's eve. aaron katersky, abc news,
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new york. the flu is making a comeback. the cdc said five states had widespread reports of flu last week, up from zero two weeks earlier. the states of new york, and four other states across the south, alabama, mississippi, georgia and virginia, all included. 2010 has been the deadliest year for american coal miners in nearly two decades. 48 miners were killed over the past 12 months. 29 in the massey mine explosion in west virginia back in april. investigators have yet to issue a final report on that disaster. but the deaths did result in a call for tougher inspections. it was a shaky and literally ending for 2010, for residents of indiana and four other western states. that region was hit by a 3.8 magnitude earthquake, that struck about 50 miles north of indianapolis. the tremor lasted longer than one minute. thankfully, though, no serious damages or injuries to report. one of indiana's favorite
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sons is singer john mellencamp. and sad news this morning, he and his wife of 20 years are calling it quits. >> elaine mellencamp is a model. she's even appeared in some of his videos. it was once one of college football's fiercest rivalries is renewed today. >> miami of florida and notre dame play their first game in 20 years against each other in this afternoon's sun bowl. and as for last night's clash of women's basketball powers, here's adnan virk at espn news. >> good morning. the last team to beat the uconn women's basketball program was stanford. prior to that 90-game winning streak. that streak was in peril on thursday night for maya moore and number one uconn, against the number eight cardinal. first half, stan guard up by eight. lindy laraque. stanford, up by seven. then, jeannette polen. later in the first half, moore
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with the steal. and brea hartley in transition. finishing with the lieup and the foul. uconn, frails it 22-14. still in the first half, uconn trails by seven. but hartley with the steal. and going the length of the floor. it's a five-point game. stanford would scratch that out to nine. and an 11-point lead. second half, now. stanford up by five. polen, air ball. but kayla peterson there for the putback. later in the second half, stanford by six. it will be pohlen, a phenomenal performance for her. under eight minutes left. peterson with the miss. joslyn tengle with the putback. later in the second half, uconn down by six. moore takes the three. but doesn't get back on "d." and the easy lay-in. and the cardinal on the verge of slaying goliath. under two minutes to go.
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nnemkadi with the layup. and stanford's done it. 71-59. that does it for the sports update. back to you in new york. don't forget, for all your highlights, watch "the highlight express," on espn news. as has been the tradition for the past 36 years, michigan's lake superior state university is out with a list of words and phrases to be banned in 2011. there's 14 of them. let's go. >> funny ones on here. we start off with viral. also on the list, epic, fail, wow factor and aha moment. >> aha. still have a day to do it. next on the list, no love out there for backstory, bff, manup, which we heard during the campaign season. also, the sarah palin-uttered refudiate and momma grizzlies. >> rounding out the list, the american people, say should go, too.
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i'm just saying. using facebook and google as verbs. and last, but not least, live life to the fullest. >> i have a feeling they're not going away. up next, the stories we'll be following today, including the big western storm. plus, more setbacks for space shuttle "discovery." details coming up. [ mike ] my name is mike and i quit smoking. i knew for years before i quit that i needed to quit and i went online to find a way. ♪ what really excited me about chantix -- it's a non-nicotine pill. i didn't want nicotine to give up nicotine. while you're taking the medication, for the first week, you can go ahead and smoke. [ male announcer ] prescription chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. when i was taking the chantix, it reduced the urge to smoke. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions
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stories we'll be watching on this friday. travel will be treacherous on this last day of the year, as the storm pounds large parts of the west and midwest, with some heavy snow, rain and high winds. it will be a full day of trading on wall street. stocks are set to end the year on a hinote. the dow and the s&p 500 are up 14% for the year. the alaska senate battle may still not be over. joe miller, the republican who lost, will announce this afternoon whether he will, in fact, continue to file legal challenges. incumbent, lisa murkowski waged a successful write-in campaign to win the election. nasa has been examining cracks on the tank of "discovery." but the space agency says the flight in early february remains a possibility. "discovery" suffered a series of mishaps in preparation for its flight to the international space station. thousands of new year's revelers are ready to pour into new york's times square. the big, annual ball drop. the weather is expected to be great. 40 degrees, no wind, no rain and
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no snow. lottery players in 41 states and d.c., lining up to buy tickets to tonight's megamillions drawing jackpot. local news next for some. but that's not the only story. it's got turn-by-turn navigation, onstar, an available six-speed automatic transmission, remote keyless entry, and 10 air bags. it's a big story for a compact car. the all-new chevrolet cruze. get used to more. very well-qualified lessees can get a low-mileage lease on a 2011 chevrolet cruze ls for around $159 a month. call for details. took some foolish risks as a teenager. but i was still taking a foolish risk with my cholesterol. anyone with high cholesterol may be at increased risk of heart attack. diet and exercise weren't enough for me. i stopped kidding myself. i've been eating healthier, exercising more... and now i'm also taking lipitor. if you've been kidding yourself about high cholesterol...stop.
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is. now, "good morning, maryland" no one won the jackpot tuesday night. so are you ready to take a chance at winning millions tonight? also, police continue to search for teen who disappeared while visiting baltimore city. and also, we say bye to 2010 and welcome 2011. cities around the nation, how they are preparing to ring in the new year. it's new years eve. thanks for joining us i am preeing megan pringle charlie has the morning off and justin is here. >> i think we will ring in 2011 with warm, mild comfortable temperatures. this morning, we start off with early fog. so if you are heading out and
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your name is earl, we try to a name the fog after you but we corrected it. this will be a stretch of the warmest weather we have had in about three weeks time. it's been that long since we cracked the 50 degree mark. but we should get there today. so new year's eve, dry, and new year's day, and the weekend, the chance of showers rolling back in. 26 in baltimore. 32 in easton. and we are looking for the early fog giving way to partly to mostly sunny sky with a high of 5 #. now to the roads with kim -- 52. now to the roads with kim brown. >> reporter: i don't anticipate a lot of traffic. looking live at cameras, traffic is moving at a nice pace. still light volume out there. no major issues except when you look downtown baltimore, we have an accident that has fayette street closed between green and mlk. police hope to have that reopened after the morning rush. you can use lum bard as -- lum barred as your best alternate. >> we are --
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